E-policing and the social contract



Publication Details

C. G. Harfield, 'E-policing and the social contract' (Paper presented at the The Social Implications of Covert Policing, Australian National University, Canberra ACT, 7 April 2009).


The Age of Information has taken investigative and intelligence capabilities beyond the imaginations of Age of Enlightenment philosophers such as John Locke whose social contract theory of governance remains the moral justification for policing. Through philosophical analysis taking as its starting point John Locke, and philosophers of policing such as John Kleinig and Seamus Miller, this essay reflects on the basis of first principles whether the social contract theory remains valid in a governance environment characterized by digital identity and control of identity data. Specifically, it considers whether moral justification exists for criminal intelligence analyst access to data sharing, data matching and data mining techniques.

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